Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Homeschool Odyssey, Part 1

Homeschooling was something foreign to me. I envisioned a super patient mom sitting patiently with her children as she patiently taught them. The children would respond in a polite manner and all would be well. The mom would wear a jean jumper and the children would be a little, well... socially deprived. That was something that, I felt, God had definitely not called me to. I was already a pastor's wife!

The idea of homeschooling entered my world when my oldest, A1, went to a nearby Christian preschool. It was there that I met a mom who had 5 children and was a homeschooler. She would send her children to that school for preschool and kindergarten to get their phonics basics. Then she would start homeschooling them in first grade. I would ask her about her schedule and how she got things done. I was amazed that she was able to pull it off without pulling her hair out. She was really encouraging. Then, she would challenge me with the idea. I thought she was crazy. 

I used to teach in the public school system and was more willing to teach a classroom of students rather than my own children. Somehow I had patience for other children but not my own?? I envisioned a lot yelling and screaming and crying. I would go home and tell my husband what Mrs. L had challenged me with. He would laugh. He would say that he envisioned a lot of yelling and screaming and crying. So, I just put it to that part of my mind that read "impossible / no way / never."

I kept seeing Mrs. L because she had a lot of children. We would talk and I would ask more questions about homeschooling. I was genuinely curious. It felt like God was opening my heart to the idea. Then, she would challenge me once again. I would talk to my husband and he would laugh. Then I would put that idea away again.

By this time, Mrs. L had six children and A2 was going to preschool. A3 had been born and A1 was in public school. He had a ready-to-retire teacher and some wonderfully encouraging teachers afterwards. He had some good experiences and some scarring experiences. This was a typical day for him:

  • Wake up.
  • A lot of coercing to get ready.
  • A lot of pushing to eat fast.
  • (After school) A lot of hollering to eat his snack... fast.
  • Activity
  • A lot of lamenting to do homework while I prepared dinner.
  • A lot of shouting to get ready for bed.
  • A lot of yelling to go to sleep.

As you can see, there was a lot of stress and tension going on. So much had to be done and so much busyness but I hardly got to see A1. In between school and activities, There was little meaningful interaction with him because of the busyness. I saw him at the busiest part of any mom's day (3:00-night). I had to drive him to activities, make dinner, make sure he did his homework, make sure he had everything for the next day... I felt cheated because I didn't get to see my son and wasn't getting a chance to know him.

By this time, I felt that God was slowly opening the door to the idea of me actually homeschooling. I thought of the possibility but my husband still said no.

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